During a recent Saturday morning stop, it was easy to hear the echoes of Bobby Kennedy in Booker's exchange with about 300 people in the coastal town of Portsmouth on the border with Maine. He touched on specific public policy only when asked.
His broader appeal was to every American to take a greater hand in the direction of the country and a direct role when possible. Several times he said, the fear your actions will amount to nothing is no reason not to do something. When discussing racism he said it is not enough to be against racism, you must be anti-racist. You must put your beliefs into action.
"Patriotism is love of country but you cannot love your country unless you love your fellow countrymen and women," Booker said.
The empathy Booker showed during a question and answer session felt incredibly real. Hugging was a big thing. Listening without interrupting was maintained from start to finish. Booker engaged with a heckler in a non-confrontational manner that gave the heckler no choice but to stand down. When he knew his answer to a question was not going to win the vote of whomever was asking the question - he said what he thought anyway - in a bid for mutual respect.
© Dean Pagani 2019